How Does A Man Feel When His Wife Finds Out About The Affair?

Most of the people who ask me questions about affairs are women.  They are typically the faithful wife who is trying to determine what their husband might be thinking or what his motivations might be. They often have questions about whether their husband will pick up the affair again or what his feelings are at some point from detection of the affair to recovery from it. Understandably, they often feel that they can’t necessarily trust their husband’s reactions or claims, since he’s been lying while having the affair.  Many are not sure that he is being genuine when confronted or caught.

Someone might say, “I caught my husband cheating.  Actually his sister told me about it.  Otherwise, I would not have known.  My sister-in-law and myself are practically best friends and she could not stand for me to be in the dark about something so important. I actually tried to confront my husband and he denied it.  But then my sister-in-law knew the restaurant where my husband was meeting the other woman and we actually were sitting at the booth behind them.  I stood up so that I could look my husband in the eye and he became flustered and left the restaurant in a hurry.  He actually just left the other woman sitting there.  I could not bring myself to say anything to her, but my sister-in-law basically told her that I was the wife of the man she was just with. Then she ran out of the restaurant too.  This was only yesterday and last night my husband stayed with his mother.  He left my sister-in-law an angry voice mail saying that he was going to break off the affair that night and that she had made things worse by having me at the restaurant.  He sounded more angry than afraid.  He texted me and said that we will talk in a few days when things calm down.  I am actually not in any hurry to talk to him. But I am wondering how he is actually feeling.  I saw shock and a bit of panic in his face, but his voice mail to his sister was angry. How do most men feel when their wife finds out about the affair?”

It really does depend on the man and the situation.  Most husbands ARE a bit panicked. Especially if the reveal of the affair comes at a time when they couldn’t control it.  They are often juggling several balls in the air and very much hoping that they don’t drop one. When they are caught, suddenly all of this ends in disaster.  I have had a couple of men tell me that getting caught was a relief because it was very stressful to be carrying on with the facade.  But this relief can be  short lived when he sees how much his actions have hurt and angered his wife and his family.  While the affair is going on and his wife is unaware, he isn’t having to deal with her pain and anger.  Suddenly, when she finds out, now there is a new stressor into the mix.  This is often a very painful time for everyone.

Add that to the fact that his reaction and panic is often a shock to the other woman, who then becomes very angry at him also.  He sometimes finds himself in a situation where no one is happy with him and he realizes that he has hurt many people and has put his family in jeopardy. Many wives assume that their husbands are faking the guilt and the hatred toward himself.  But for many husbands, these feelings are real.  Imagine how you would feel if you had a guilty, shameful secret that you knew would shatter your husband and devastate your family. Imagine that the secret is horrifically embarrassing.  Then imagine your husband finding out and having to face him.  Most people would be angry with themselves when their their own actions brought about this turn of events.

Sure, some husbands will try to posture and will come up with all sorts of reasons why they were justified in their cheating.  Some will blame their wife or their marriage.  Some will ty to make the affair relationship seem special.  But deep down, they likely know that no one forced them to have an affair.  Deep down, they likely know that they could have sought counseling or had a frank conversation with their wife before they betrayed her in this way.

Again, it really does depend on the personality of the husband and any words that were exchanged when he was caught. Some husbands will appear to be angry at their wives when they’re really embarrassed or angry at themselves.  I’ve never heard anyone truly say that they were proud of their behavior when having an affair. Almost everyone is ashamed, whether they admit to it or not.  It’s like being caught doing an embarrassing act that you know is wrong and you know will hurt others. Your face feels warm with shame and you want to go hide in a corner, blink your eyes, and have this never to have happened.  But you can’t take it back and you have no choice but to face it.  For many people, it is one of the lowest points in their life.  It feels so shameful, not just because of the betrayal, but because they’ve hurt someone with whom they were building a home and family with and now they have to work with and face that wounded person if they want to make it right again and have peace when they look in the mirror.

My husband’s reaction after being caught was complete and utter panic.  It was as if a car accident or earth quake had just happened at his feet.   This is pretty comical, really, when you consider that HE was the one who caused the earthquake.  His behavior is common, but there can be many variations on this.  Everyone is different.  Often, you will get different and varying behavior throughout the fall out and recovery.  How he acts at discovery may be different than how he acts two weeks down the road and vice verse.  It is the total of his behaviors over time that matters.  You can read more about my own discovery and subsequent recovery on my blog at

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